Local roots inspires creative Tampa art

Mark Gonzalez's work reflects his life in the area.

The first few steps inside Mark Gonzalez’s Tampa home will bewilder your eyes.

“Welcome to my studio,” he said with a tone as warm as the colors.

There isn’t much empty space on the walls. Framed artwork, all original pieces done by Mark himself, line the walls upstairs and downstairs. Scraps of metal, bent plastic and cracked glass serve as a foundation for his unique creations.

“I think it’s important that we capture the positive energy in the world because God gives us so many beautiful things that we overlook and take for granted.”

The sixth-generation Floridian, who was born at Tampa General Hospital, is constantly gathering inspiration. His pieces, which he describes as kinetic art, appear to jump off the walls. Brightly colored LED lights illuminate his masterpieces and add another dimension to their complexity.

“This piece right here was actually inspired by my grandmother,” he said, gazing at a bright collection of shapes and colors.

His family helped drive him towards art. His grandmother introduced him to the design and his aunt help mold him into the creator. Gonzalez takes familiar scenes from around his hometown and re-purposes their image in multimedia projects. There are photos on the walls that have been doctored and enhanced by his creative take on art.

“I try and be an artist that is going to help make our Tampa Bay area a better place. I was born in Tampa.”

The University of Tampa minarets get a psychedelic makeover in one frame. The historic Tampa Theater gets a groovy mirrored-look in another.

The art is intended to inspire and promote Tampa Bay. Gonzalez has donated dozens of pieces in his lifetime to charities in the area. He estimates they have collectively sold at auction for $100,000 or more. His pieces are on display in popular buildings like the Tampa Theater and the nearby Metropolitan Ministries offices.

"We have an amazing city,” he said, “and I think we all need to work together any way we can to help those in need.”

 

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